Kurt Weill was ahead of his time in his compositions for the opera house, the Broadway stage, and Hollywood films. Today the boundaries are disappearing between "classical" and "popular" music in the theater, and singer/actors are called upon to perform in many different musical styles. In honor of Weill's wife and foremost interpreter, Lotte Lenya, in 1998 the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music established an annual Lotte Lenya Competition for Singers to recognize versatile young artists who are dramatically and musically convincing in music by Weill and other stage composers.
Winners of the 2003 Lenya Competition were selected at the end of day-long final auditions on 22 March 2003 at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. The first prize of $7500 was won by Siri Vik, soprano, of Cincinnati, OH; second prize of $5000 was awarded to baritone Peter McGillivray of Toronto, ON; and third prizes of $2000 each went to soprano Elaine Alvarez (Brooklyn, NY), tenor Jeffrey Behrens (Pittsburgh, PA), and baritone Michael McKinsey (Brooklyn, NY). All five winners will be presented in concert at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, New York City, on 15 May at 6:00 pm. The 2003 competition finals were judged by a team of distinguished opera/musical theater professionals consisting of Teresa Stratas, world-renowned singer and interpreter of Weill; Theodore Chapin, President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and longtime Tony-Award nominator; and Ted Sperling, Broadway musical director, conductor, stage director, pianist and actor.
Fifteen competition finalists were selected from more than 100 contestants at regional auditions held in New York City, Rochester, Chicago, and Cincinnati by regional judges Richard Pearlman, Joyce Castle, Eric Stern, and Teresa Stratas. In addition to the winners listed above, they were Richard Todd Adams (New York, NY), Casey Cole (New York, NY), Jennifer Brennan-Hondorp (Holt, MI), Kelli Harrington (Downers Grove, IL), Nathan Morgan (New York, NY), Melissa Angela Schiel (Toronto, ON), Aubrey Srednicki (Webster, NY), Misty Ann Sturm (Rochester, NY), Stephanie Tennill (New York, NY), and Amy Van Looy (Philadelphia, PA). To show versatility in the performance of varied musical theater styles, each contestant was asked to prepare an aria from the opera/operetta repertoire, a selection from one of Weill's European stage works, a selection from one of Weill's American stage works, and a selection from the Broadway musical theater repertoire by a composer other than Weill.